Joaquin Phoenix has been the whole talk of Hollywood over the last year for his leading role in Joker.
His performance as troubled comedian Arthur Fleck has been praised globally, and his dedication and commitment to becoming the character has been strongly applauded.
But there is a lot more to the actor than what meets the eye.
Phoenix’s upbringing was truly disturbing – and people are only just learning about his secret double life.
Joaquin Phoenix has been known for the past year as The Joker, but there’s a lot more about the actor than what we certainly expected.
Born in Peurto Rico on October 28th, 1974, Phoenix was the third of 5 children – River, Rain, Summer, and Liberty.
John and Arlyn Bottom, crossed paths while Arlyn – who later changed her name to Heart – was hitchhiking across Mexico and John picked her up in his Volkswagen.
Spreading the word of Children of God – a religious cult.
The forty-four-year-old actor is well known for his colorful characters with disturbed backgrounds.
Including the warped Roman emperor Commodus in >em>Gladiator, the sex-obsessed alcoholic veteran in The Master…
…and even the man who falls in love with a computer in Her.
In 2005, Phoenix checked into rehab to be treated for alcoholism.
Which makes him something of an exception in Hollywood.
Because we know Phoenix’s choice of roles reflect this darkness.
Which is riddled with tragedy – and Phoenix is haunted by demons that he still struggles with to this very day.
The Children of God cult strongly believed that in order to praise and love God, members must be open with having sex with one another.
“It actively encouraged sexual activities among minors as young as two or three years old,” an ex-member of the cult has said.
It later emerged that the cult encouraged sex between children and adults, including group sex and incest.
Phoenix’s late eldest brother, River, who died in 1993, once claimed to have lost his virginity aged 4, although the Joker star is adamant that his parents didn’t know about the inside goings-on of the cult.
“It’s guilt by association. I think it was really innocent on my parents’ part,” he said.
“But I don’t think most people see it that way.”
” Cults rarely advertise themselves as such. The moment my parents realized there was something more to it, they got out.”
They were all vegans and were struggling to live in poverty.
This was to commemorate their new lives and to symbolize their rise from the ashes.
But it wasn’t long until the talented siblings were scouted by agents and had their acting careers kick-started.
But 1993 saw twenty-three-year-old River perform at Los Angeles’ infamous The Viper Room, part-owned by Johnny Depp.
But they were unaware that River had consumed a drink that was a cocktail of illegal drugs.
In the early hours, River suffered an overdose, and collapsed outside on the street, where he convulsed for over 5 minutes before he died.
Which was later released to the media.
The heartbreaking tape revealed a panic-stricken Phoenix.
“Get over here please! You must get over here please! Because he’s dying… please.”
“I’ve come nearer acceptance.”
“Because it’s something I’ll never understand – but just an acceptance of River’s death,” he said recently about his brother.
After River died, Phoenix was forced to retreat from the media’s glare.
Where he embarked on much darker roles that involved insecure and conflicted characters.
An unnamed producer once said that Phoenix is insecure.
“He’s better at being a character than being himself,” said the producer. “He really thinks he’s boring.”
His love/hate relationship with Hollywood is very much apparent, with him taking continuous breaks from acting over the years and taking more time to stay away from the spotlight.
Want to learn about another Hollywood star with a troubled past? Scroll on for the truth about Keanu Reeves’s tragic life …